Deadline to claim support to help with cost of living pressures

This story was published 27 January 2023

Residents eligible for help from the Household Support Fund, a scheme which provides support to buy food and other essentials, should redeem their supermarket vouchers before the deadline on 15 February.

People learning about the Household Support Fund at Filey Library.

A third phase of the scheme was launched across the county in January. We worked alongside borough and district councils to help those most in need, with the scheme providing a one-off payment in the form of supermarket e-vouchers.

More than 23,000 people in the county have now received a letter containing an individual code. This code allows them to download the supermarket e-voucher, with the option of a printed version for anyone who is less confident with technology.

The scheme was initially set up by the Department for Work and Pensions to help people meet the cost of energy bills, food and other essentials as the country recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic. The national criteria has been updated for the third phase of the scheme to help people who missed out on other cost of living support from the Government.

The voucher system has been designed to be user-friendly but residents who prefer face-to-face support can get help in our libraries, or through borough and district council offices. The latest round of funding includes support for families and working age households, as well more than 10,000 older people.

Staff and volunteers at libraries in North Yorkshire have been on hand to support people who do not feel confident in accessing their vouchers online.

Our executive member for stronger communities, Cllr Greg White said: “North Yorkshire’s libraries have some incredible staff and volunteers, who can help people of all ages with digital tasks.” 

He said they had already helped some people get their supermarket e-vouchers and been able to provide other support while they were in the library.

“One library recently helped one 87-year-old gentleman. He cares for his wife who is in the early stages of dementia,” Cllr White said.

“He visited one of our libraries with his wife and they helped him access his voucher. He was delighted he could choose to split his £85 over multiple stores and was astonished at how simple and quick it was. He couldn’t have been happier about how easy the process was. 

“He felt welcome by the library team and whilst he was doing this, his wife was able to choose some large print books.”

Our executive member for Corporate Services, Cllr David Chance, called on anyone who is eligible for the Household Support Fund to claim their voucher ahead of 15 February, when the scheme closes.

He said: “Most people find a supermarket e-voucher easy to use, but we know not everyone is confident with technology. 

“The system involves just a few simple steps, but if you are struggling, then take your voucher code into your local library, or some of the district council offices, where the teams there can help. 

“We are also asking that people check if any relatives who are eligible for the Household Support Fund need some help if they are not confident with digital technology. Please check with family members if they’ve had a letter and haven’t claimed yet.”

The two main groups of people who will receive the Household Support Fund direct payments are:

  • Residents who received housing benefit on, or between, 26 August and 25 September, but who did not qualify for the second cost of living payment for people on low-income benefits or tax credits. They will receive a single e-voucher for £325
  • Residents who were getting the maximum discount to pay their council tax bill through the means-tested Council Tax Reduction Scheme, as of 30 November. They will receive a single e-voucher for £85

The remainder of the money from the Government has been distributed among other funding pots in the county, which can be accessed now by residents who may struggle to afford basic necessities. This includes the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund, Warm and Well in North Yorkshire and food banks.

Warm and Well, an organisation which helps to ensure homes are properly heated to prevent poor health, has an additional £260,000 to support people who are struggling with their energy costs. Citizens Advice North Yorkshire are contracted by ourselves to deliver Warm and Well to residents.

Further details on the Warm and Well scheme website.

Our North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund page also has information.

All eight of North Yorkshire’s councils have worked as one team to bring the scheme together as quickly as possible. 

For more information on eligibility see our Household Support Fund in North Yorkshire page.

Our cost of living support page has details on what is available in North Yorkshire.